Thank you, supporters of pandemic vaccines. And, as a moderator for a forum that attracts eco-nazis (yeah, that’s a thing and it’s annoying), I just wanted to offer a sympathetic “I see you”. As you deal with all the comments. The many, many comments.
A moment aside to the commentors.
Social Media. Most social media sites are for-profit companies. They are not your friend. They have never been your friend. If you think an shared link from a supporter or an article in a newspaper is “lending the Conspiracy(tm) power” you are fooling yourself. Social Media can literally declare black-is-white tomorrow and there’s nothing you can do about it.
The climate deniers and the anti-vaxx are supported by the same funders. Because it prevents you from stopping what the funders are currently doing. Maybe it’s churning out homeopathic meds that do not work. Or vaccines that are shoddily made because they are idemnified against lawsuits. It doesn’t matter. The motivation is the same.
The vaccination debate is a red herring
And always has been. The concept of exposure to a weakened or dead virus to gain long-lasting immunity is proven beyond a doubt. Literally over millennia. The technology of vaccination is a proven one. With some uses with a hundred year plus of data. They transformed the world in terms of health.
This does NOT mean every vaccine ever is safe. It also doesn’t mean every vaccine has taken into account co-factors in modern life that might have caused a reaction. So maybe that vaccine is fine. But that herbal medication you gave your kid around the time created a situation unique and unhealthy. Comparing a swine-flu vaccine reaction to a covid vaccine is like comparing a hammer with a screwdriver. They’re both tools but only one of them is going to be useful dealing with that nail.
Practically speaking, this means that a scientifically minded person should be demanding a BETTER ENVIRONMENT within which to take their medications. And that gets down to dealing with climate change and the profound issues with current civilizational structures. A wise person would also demand -total transparency- regarding the data and its interpertation from experts in the field. You’d demand the transparency earlier and its accessibility quickly so that people across the globe can work together to overcome issues.
Alongside transparency comes responsible reporting and here’s the key to modern propaganda. I wrote a version of this in 2003, when the internet was just gaining power.
The Problem with Social Media
You believe communication “technologies” offered up the greatest freedom the human race could ever hope for. What a quaint and fanciful notion this is! It is also a notion that can be swiftly and easily laid aside.
Following Martin Luther’s upset of the culture of that time (via the printing press), intellectuals soon grasped that there were two simple ways to control the power of this new medium; you could alter the content of the information or its flow. Early despots, eager for power, quickly selected the former – the information’s content– to begin their rise to power.
They flooded the minds and souls of their people with only the message they wanted them to hear. And they ruthlessly suppressed any other attempt at the mass production of alternate points of view. They taught their young only the truths they needed to support the state. And with such power in hand, they soon found their empires expanding faster and more efficiently than ever. The idea of “World Wars” became inevitable as one “Truth” competed with another.
The flaw with this thinking was that inevitably, some people would come up with alternate means to publish their own vision. They would be willing to put their lives on the line to mass-produce this “truth” and the resulting confusion would “taint” and destabilize the despots’ ordered world. After several spectacular failures, the later despots of that era veered away from content control and segued into altering the information’s flow. To put it simply, they discovered that in order to control information, you did not have to manipulate its every word. You merely had to be the loudest “voice” among many.
On one hand, they produced entertainments designed to numb the mind and produce a spiritual malaise. On the other, they had a set of linked media outlets producing variants on the same story (the one they wanted you to hear) and downplayed any other versions of the truth as “unreliable.”
The plutocracy behind the world governments were masters of this. They invented technologies that could predict and corrupt human behaviors, prying into the human mind and then locking them into an endless cycle of making products and buying products. Communication was absolutely free but rigidly monitored. While you could say anything, you were only rewarded for those things that promoted the status quo. Humanity, as a whole, fell in line like cattle in a slaughterhouse…Forbidden Lore: Technology, a supplement for Fading Suns (2003)
To sum it all up…
That was written for a sci-fi piece but, oh, it applies very well today and many of the comments in social media prove it.
As a practical matter, people praising social media for shutting down bad pandemic information is good. Primarily because it starts to -reduce- that clutter and noise. It also allows more robust and reproducible material to come through. The obvious path after that is not to go after the social media site with whatever pet theory you might have but to push for greater transparency and access.
The TL;DR version? Social media sites should shut misinformation down because in the middle of a pandemic, we have to find proper, reproducible ways to protect our communities. Distractions by snake-oil salesmen or even people who are of good faith but are ignorant will only lead to prolonged suffering.